Containers are an extremely flexible method of construction, being both modular in shape, extremely strong structurally and readily available. Container Cities offer a reasonably priced alternative solution to traditional space provision. They are ideal for office and workspace, live, work and worker housing.Container Cities does not even have to look like containers! It is a relatively simple matter to completely clad the building externally in a huge variety of materials.Finally the benefits of Container Homes or Cities can truly be seen in short and medium term land use projects. Short-life sites can have Container Houses that simply unbolts and can be relocated or stored when land is required for alternative uses. To date this alternative method of construction has successfully created youth centers, classrooms, office space, artists studios, live / work space and retail space.
The advantages of using shipping containers as your construction building blocks include:
• They’re readily available anywhere in the world. Google “shipping containers for sale” and follow up with getting some price quotes. Make sure that you specify that the containers must be ISO standard. There are some sites trying to pass off imitations for the real thing.
• They are inexpensive. A used container (or ISBU—intermodal steel building unit) will cost between $1000 and $6000 each, depending on size, age, condition and distance from the building site. Each 40 foot container gives you 320 square feet, so add up to cheap space. They generally cut overall construction cost by 20-50%.
• Cuts construction time. It is not unusual for an ISBU home to go up in 24 hours and be completed within a month or two. Walls, doors, windows can all be precut in the manufacturer or retailer’s warehouse. The seller can generally put in the electrical, painting, insulation, and other built-ins before the unit is shipped to you.
• They cut the carbon footprint. It takes far less energy to reuse shipping containers in a building than to melt them down and reform then into steel beams. Add solar panels and even the ongoing energy use will be green.
• When ISO standard containers are used it is easy to mix and match containers from different sources and still be assured that they will line up exactly with your plans.
• They are versatile. They can be arranged just about any way that a 40’ x 8’ rectangle can be arranged.
There are only a few disadvantages:
• Older cargo containers may have a rust problem. Newer containers made of Corten steel are rust-resistant. Simply specify that material when you get your quotes for used ISBUs.
• You need 100 ft. of yard space to work with the delivery and placement of a 40 ft. container.
• If your shipping container house plans are out of character with your neighborhood you may run into neighbor resistance. However, since plans can be designed with almost any shape and almost any exterior, you should be able to meet the esthetics of your neighborhood if desired.
It is relatively easy to come up with shipping container house plans. First, get plans for ISO standard containers and then modify those to fit your needs. These plans can be purchased for $28 each at isbu-info.org. Then, look through the sites of designers that have created ISBU homes, and locations where you can buy plansThe shipping containers industry produces a lot of these containers each and every year. We’re talking mainly about ISO containers. They are used to transport goods all over the world. It’s estimated that 90 percent of the world’s trade today moves in containers. One hundred million container loads crisscross the world’s oceans each year in over 5,000 container ships. There is a very big chance that a lot of the stuff you own or buy came to you in a shipping container. Malcolm McLean invented them and they represented a real revolution in the transportation industry back in the mid 1950s.These shipping containers create problems too. After they are used a few times they become used shipping containers and nobody wants them. Used shipping containers take a lot of space and represent a potential source of pollution.Then some people thought “why not use these containers for something else?”. Why not build a container house, a shelter, even a whole neighbourhood? We really don’t know who were the first that had this idea.